Three brilliant digital English activities to try in the classroom

At the CLC, we talk a lot about how technology can be used to support extraordinary learning across the curriculum.

With our ‘English and digital technology forum for primary schools’ coming up on 1 March, we thought we’d whet your appetite by sharing these three ideas for incorporating digital into your English lessons.

1. Telling and retelling stories

Animation can be a brilliant tool for storytelling. It allows children’s imaginations to run wild – they can animate animals, people, aliens or creatures never before seen.

Stop motion is always a great option, but can be quite time consuming, and if you want to use sound it’ll need to be edited in over the top (you can use iMovie for this). 

If you want to make best use of this kind of animation, it’s worth doing it as a longer-form project over the course of a few weeks, as in this example from Sunnyhill primary:

 

If you want to make your animations a bit quicker then an app like Puppet Pals HD is perfect. The premium version of the app allows pupils to draw their own characters and backgrounds before animating them and simultaneously recording audio. The app is great for use with KS1 (the functionality is relatively simple) and KS2 alike. Here’s an example of a Puppet Pals animation:

 

Poetry

There are a number of apps out there which can help children to get started writing poetry. If you have iPads in school, you might find this list of digital poetry tools helpful.

We’re particular fans of the Word Mover App, which digitises all the fun of fridge magnet poetry.

You can also check out magneticpoetry.com which now has a ‘Kids kit’, ensuring that the words being suggested are child friendly.

It can also be incredibly valuable to encourage pupils to speak poetry out loud; having to physically get to grips with devices such as alliteration, rhyme and onomatopoeia can help children to recognise these features and feel for themselves what effect they have upon a text. 

Many children are pretty proficient at recording and editing short videos (TikTok anyone?), so why not take advantage of these skills and interests and record some performance poetry.

For inspiration, check out Joseph Coelho’s Youtube channel.

3. Book reviews

Would any blog about primary English be complete without an appearance from Michael Rosen? He spoke to our friends at Adobe Education about the power of conversation in the classroom, and they have put together some great activities looking at video book reviews.

We also think that audio can be a great medium for sharing book reviews.

This example was made using AudioBoom:

Why not try turning links to your videos or audio recordings into QR codes like the one above? You could even print them out and stick them in the back of books in your school library so that pupils can see what their peers thought of the books they are reading.

Want to find out more about how you can use technology to support the teaching of English in your school?

Come along to the CLC’s English Forum on Tuesday 1 March.

Book now

Summer primary school computing conference

14/06/22,
09:15
- 15:30

This event will build upon the Autumn computing conference by inviting subject leaders to reflect on their year in the role, sharing their successes and challenges. It will also introduce new ideas, tools and approaches through talks and practical activities led by members of the CLC team, with opportunities for attendees to share their own expertise and experience. Over the course of the conference activities will touch on the three main areas of the computing curriculum: computer science, digital literacy and information technology. We will also feature advice and examples illustrating the use of technology to support blended learning.

Does your school need a sustained programme in the use of digital technology to underpin your whole school aims and plans?

Our support package covers the following:

Professional learning

Teacher professional development which puts digital at the heart of teaching and learning

Pupil workshops

Engaging, practical workshops for your class, in your school, at our Clapham centre online

Creative technology projects

Engaging, immersive educational experiences with corporate and cultural partners

Consultancy & advice

Get tailored support from our expert team of teachers and technologists

Technology loans

Kit for every classroom

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Upcoming CPD

Summer primary school computing conference
Summer primary school computing conference

This event will build upon the Autumn computing conference by inviting subject leaders to reflect on their year in the role, sharing their successes and challenges. It will also introduce new ideas, tools and approaches through talks and practical activities led by members of the CLC team, with opportunities for attendees to share their own expertise and experience. Over the course of the conference activities will touch on the three main areas of the computing curriculum: computer science, digital literacy and information technology. We will also feature advice and examples illustrating the use of technology to support blended learning.

14/06/22,
09:15
- 15:30
EYFS, KS1, KS2
Computing subject leaders, Teachers...
Creative Arts, Digital and children – CLC meets More Than Robots online
Creative Arts, Digital and children - CLC meets More Than Robots online

Combining forces for the first time, the Connected Learning Centre and More Than Robots have created a session for teachers, youth organisations, researchers and policymakers interested in the digital provision of creative arts for primary aged pupils.

This interactive and inclusive meet up will include inspiring examples of how technology can be used to support learning in music, visual art and drama in person and online at home drawing on our experiences as Tate Exchange associates and our partnership work with a range of cultural institutions. 

This informal event is an opportunity to discuss real examples of what does/doesn’t work, meet colleagues from other sectors working on similar challenges and share useful research, news or updates

The morning will include case study presentations followed by a Q&A. There will also be an opportunity for a rapid sharing round for launches, project updates or requests for help and a short break to avoid zoom brain drain.

24/06/22,
09:30
- 11:30
KS1, KS2
Subject leaders, Teachers...

Upcoming Special projects

The News Project
25/11/21,
09:30
- 14:25
KS2

Special project in collaboration with First News Education

For a third year, building on two successful previous projects, we are once again partnering with the children’s newspaper First News, fellow member of the national Making Sense of Media and News Literacy networks. This special project with a literacy, PSHE and citizenship, as well as computing focus, highlights our specialist interest in this important aspect of digital and critical literacy.

The News Project will enable participating classes from year 5 to immerse themselves in news and current affairs using First News and the Bett award-winning First News iHUB, which will be provided free of charge during the school-based part of the project over a six week period. Under the guidance of their teacher, pupils will be supported in their development as a community of fully informed news readers. Classes will test their new critical skills and knowledge in the culminating virtual celebration event which will include a news competition and team-based critical literacy and editorial activities. After the event, schools will be able to use the resources from the day in their school.

The project will launch with an introductory CPD session for teachers to set the context, demonstrate resources and to plan for the school-based activities. 

Initial CPD session - Thursday 21st October 4pm-5.00pm. 

Project work undertaken in school - October and November.

Special event - Thursday 25th November 9.30am-2.45pm.

The Garden Museum
21/02/22,
-
KS1

The CLC is once again partnering with the Garden Museum to offer a partnership project for KS1 pupils (primarily suited to Yr2). Located next to Lambeth Palace on the bank of the Thames, the museum has an inspiring collection that provides the ideal stimulus for young learners to explore the world around them.

Pupils will use technology alongside the museum’s collection to explore the wonderful world of seeds.

  • How are they planted?
  • How do they spread?
  • What is inside them?

 The Garden Museum has a large collection of seeds and tools that pupils will engage with.

These half-day sessions will take place at the Garden Museum.

There is a limited number of dates available, so please book early to avoid disappointment.

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